Local shelters raise white flags during freezing temperatures - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Local shelters raise white flags during freezing temperatures

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

More than 1,100 people are homeless every night in Wake County, and the Raleigh Rescue Mission says most of those in need are women and children.

But on cold nights, the Rescue Mission says everyone needs to come inside.

As the temperatures dip into the teen, Frederick Pearson, who is homeless, is thankful he had a warm bed at the Raleigh Rescue Mission.

"You have the whole day to spend outside, you have no destination -- it can be a scary thing," Pearson said.

When temperatures drop below freezing, the Mission hangs a white flag outside its building to indicate that it has warm beds for those who need them.

The Raleigh Rescue Mission has 25 emergency beds for cold nights, but they fill up fast. In addition to providing shelter, the mission also provides meals for those in need.

"We have their bed linens, their towels, their toiletries that they will need tonight, dinner and breakfast for them," explained Leslie Millett, with the Rescue Mission.

Typically the Raleigh Rescue Mission can house about a 100 people, but on nights when it's freezing, they'll squeeze in a few extra, hoping they will have enough beds for anyone cold and in need.

"On a night like tonight, it can be matter of life and death," Millett said. "It's extremely cold."

The Mission tries not to turn anyone away, but says even if they reach capacity, they at least want to give the homeless the gear to weather the cold. The Mission is now asking for winter coats, especially larger sizes for men.

And for the holiday season, the Raleigh Rescue Mission is always looking for volunteers to help meals and to provide warm clothing and blanket donations.

The Rescue Mission will call on other agencies if it does reach capacity.

Melanie Sanders

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